Udon noodles, rare beef slices, loads of veggies, and an Asian dressing make for an out-of-this-world Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl!

When you have leftover roasted or grilled beef, add these fabulous Asian noodle bowls to your menu. The bold flavors, crisp vegetables, and light dressing of this Beef Bowl Recipe create a memorable meal!

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl on a large white platter.

This post was originally shared in 2011. Some new text was added to offer some tips for making these noodle bowls along with new photos.

Why You Must Make

  • We had lots of perfectly grilled beef tenderloin leftovers from my dad’s birthday celebration. When discussing what we wanted to whip up for dinner, my sister, Mary, immediately suggested a Vietnamese noodle bowl. With all the decadent party food we’d consumed the night before, this sounded incredibly refreshing. We were not disappointed with these repurposed leftovers!!
  • This recipe provides a lighter way to eat a steak. You’ll get your beef fix without feeling like you’ve overindulged.
  • This would be fabulous with chicken or shrimp plus the veggies can be swapped for any of your favorites. I wish I could cook dinner with my sisters every night!

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Peanut or Canola Oil, Garlic, Brown Sugar, Sliced Garlic
  • Udon Noodles – May substitute any of the other noodles listed below.
  • Fish Sauce – I keep a bottle of Red Boat brand in my refrigerator.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Add to taste.
  • Fresh Lime Juice – Freshly squeezed will provide the best flavor.
  • Seared Beef Tenderloin – Very thin slices. May use grilled flank steak or chicken.
  •  Dry Roasted Peanuts or Cashews – Add some crunch.
  •  Carrots – Peeled and julienned (cut into thin matchstick-sized pieces).
  •  Red Bell Pepper – Julienned.
  •  English Cucumber – Peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced in thin slices.
  •  Head of Romaine Lettuce – Sliced. Will wilt in the hot broth.
  •  Fresh Basil – Chiffonade; Roll basil leaves tightly like a cigar, then slice thinly.
  •  Fresh Cilantro – Stems removed.
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl in a blue and white dish.

Recipe Tips

My friend, Susan, shared 15 Noodle Bowls You Can’t Live Without. That alone opened my eyes to the wide variety of recipes available for noodle bowls. I think the only requirement is “noodles,” but nowadays, noodles can be zoodles, zucchini, or other spiralized vegetable noodles. The options are endless.

When I remade this recipe for Bill back home, you can imagine his response when I said Vietnamese Noodle Salad was for dinner. He’s more of a meat and potatoes guy.

I dissuaded him from heating up the noodles, but he did zap his beef in the microwave. He ate the noodles and beef (with ketchup!) separately, but was a fan of them both. Whew. He’s come a long way!

  • Since these are noodle bowls, let’s start with the obvious ingredient, noodles. I used Udon noodles, which are Japanese wheat noodles, but even spaghetti would work. Following a gluten free diet? Use an alternative pasta or spiralized vegetable instead of wheat based noodles. You can even use a package of Ramen noodles, just ditch the seasoning packet.
  • The vegetables can be tweaked as well. I’ve chosen romaine, a sturdy lettuce, red bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots for a colorful array of produce. Remember that we eat with our eyes first, so a beautiful dish is always more appealing.
  • Rare beef slices always please my crew, but other protein sources would also be delicious. Tofu for a plant based option or chicken, shrimp or even eggs would be delicious!
  • Roasted peanuts were called for in the original recipe, but I had whole cashews in my pantry and they offered a delicious crunch.
  • The dressing gives this noodle bowl recipe a Vietnamese flair. There is no oil in the dressing, but the noodles are tossed in garlic oil, so when the “dressing” and the noodles are combined, a magical mixture coats all the components.
  • A simple combination of fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes gives an enormous boost of flavor to these Asian noodle bowls.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Noodle Bowl?

Noodle Bowls are typically a combination of broth, vegetables, a protein source, sauce, and of course, noodles. The flavor profile depends on the cuisine. It could be a Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai or a more general Asian noodle bowl.

What Are Some Popular Additions to an Asian Noodle Bowl?

Try different Asian noodles. Some popular varieties include Chinese cellophane noodles made with mung-bean starch, wheat based egg noodles like ramen, soba noodles made with buckwheat flour. Add condiments such as soy sauce, wasabi paste or gochujang, a Korean chili paste. Other ingredients you might add include  hard or soft boiled eggs, thinly sliced pork, seaweed (nori or wakane) peanuts, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, edamame, mint or cilantro. The list goes on and on!

What is Fish Sauce?

If you haven’t used fish sauce before, take note. The stuff has a pretty potent aroma, but provides an amazing flavor. Bon Appetit describes it as “sweet, salty, fishy, and funky!” It’s a condiment made of fish coated in salt and then fermented. It’s a staple in many Asian cuisines, like Vietnamese and Thai. Pick up a bottle and give it a try!

Half of a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl on a white platter.

More Asian-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love

  • I’m always turning to Asian marinades for Salmon and Beef. Both are so delicious!
  • I’ve also been eyeing these Chinese Asian Pork Meatballs, this Chinese Chicken Salad, and this Sesame Ginger Grilled Chicken
  • If you have a picky family or a husband who doesn’t think entree salads or noodle bowls are dinner material, make this Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl for a ladies’ gathering or a small batch for your lunch. I’m not going to wait 7+ years to make this winner again!

Stay in touch through social media @ InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes! And if you love the results, please give it a 5-star rating in the recipe card.

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl with a bamboo fork

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Udon noodles, rare beef slices, loads of veggies and an Asian dressing make for an out of this world Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl!


  • 8 ounces Udon noodles
  • ¼ cup peanut or canola oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces Beef tenderloin, seared and sliced thin (I think grilled flank steak would be delicious, too)
  • Dry roasted peanuts
  • Carrots, peeled and julienned
  • Red bell pepper, julienned
  • English cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced in thin slices
  • Head of Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (roll basil leaves tightly like a cigar, then slice thinly)
  • Fresh cilantro, stems removed


  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add garlic and sauté till fragrant, being careful not to brown.
  3. Add the noodles and toss till well coated with oil. Place noodles in a large serving bowl.
  4. Make the dressing by combining fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Add up to ½ cup of water to dilute the dressing to taste. Set aside.
  5. Arrange vegetables and beef around the perimeter of the bowl.
  6. Garnish with basil, cilantro and peanuts. Drizzle with dressing.


May substitute other meat instead of beef.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 537Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 1531mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 30g


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My mom laughing.

Our sweet mom is in a memory unit, but she joined us for this dinner. She was so happy and animated. It was a wonderful visit!